Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Mihintale return - 8.9.15

 Day 4 cycling: MIHINTALE return
Today's data are unreliable as I neglected to turn the Garmin off as I wandered around the temple complex at Mihintale: DST = 33.6km (probably 7km of this includes walking) and ODO = 209km. On the other hand, I didn't record much of yesterday's cycling around the ruins of ancient Anuradhapura. I visited the four main areas: Mahavihara (which includes the Sri Maha Bodhi tree (in fact, not one but many trees) - reputedly grown from a cutting of the tree in Bodhgaya in India, and, it is claimed, the "oldest historically authenticated tree in the world"; Abhayagiri Monastery  (which includes a Dagoba [Buddhist Stupa] that dates back to the first century BC); Jetavanarama and Citadel (which contained an interesting, half-excavated ...hole, revealing some ancient brickwork metres below ground level). I spent over 5 hours cycling around the various sites. Rain threatened at one point but didn't eventuate and it remained in the 30s for most of the day. The entry ticket to everything cost USD $25 (=AUD $36), which struck me as being quite excessive.

This morning I cycled 13km east to Mihintale and spent several hours there (I had to fork out a more modest USD $4 here, although suspect I may have missed another pay point as I arrived there relatively early).  There were very few other tourists at Mihintale and also at Anuradhapura yesterday, which has its good and bad aspects i.e. it'd be good to have others around to chat to at times. Looking around Mihintale involved a steep climb  (apparently over 1800 steps, and then many more steps to access other parts of the complex e.g to the dagoba at Kantaka Chetiya, allegedly constructed somewhere between 50 & 200BC - that's old!). On the final level, after much more climbing, are more steps to climb - up to a large, white sitting Buddha statue, up to the Mahaseya Dagoba, and also up to a viewing point (Aradhana Gala). It's a little annoying, after getting all the way back down, to consult the guide book and realise you've missed one or two things you wouldn't have minded seeing e.g. the "2m-high rampant lion, reckoned to be one of the best pieces of animal carving in the country".

This - Milano Tourist Rest -  is rather a pleasant and convenient place to stay at; the food's quite good and I'm rather hooked on their milkshakes but it's probably time to move on in the morning to Dambulla. I feel quite tired however after quite a bit of cycling & walking over the past 2 days, but trust that I'll be in reasonable shape in the morning. Dambulla is about 66km away - not a massive ride. The guide book asserts  that the town of Dambulla is "of no interest" but that its "famed Royal Rock Temple... should not be missed". Nearby Sigiriya is "perhaps Sri Lanka's single most dramatic sight" but requires climbing "a series of vertiginous staircases attached to sheer walls to reach the top". Luckily claustrophobia not acrophobia is my thing...


Jetavanarama Dagoba, Anuradhapura

 Buddhist Railing, Anuradhapura

Citadel, Anuradhapura

 Kuttam Pokuna (Twin Ponds), Anuradhapura

 Abhayagiri Dagoba, Anuradhapura

Sri Maha Bodhi, Anuradhapura


Stairway (1843 steps), Mihintale

Kantaka Chetiya dagoba, Mihintale

Stone rice container, Monks' Refectory, Mihintale

Monkey playing with frog at side of stairway

Buddha statue, Mihintale

 Another view of Buddha statue, Mihintale

Mahaseya Dagoba, Mihintale

 Mihindu Seya, Mihintale


Anonymous said...

Hello David, have been following your adventures and missed you at lunch.

david w said...

cheers S; I'm eating ok here, including the occasional vego meal...

david w said...

... look forward to catching up for lunch on my return. ..

Anonymous said...

I've been following your route. When you reach Dambulla you'll be pretty much in the centre of the island - WOW! And it's the centre point for the country's vegetable distribution - you might have to switch from milk shakes to veg juices. Happy riding. Meredith

david w said...

cheers Meredith... I have just reached Dambulla - it certainly is vego central. .
but vegetables were the last thing on my mind as I cycled into town, I can tell you (see next post)

david w said...
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Malmo62 said...

Hi David, great hearing how well the trip is going. Having never been to Sri Lanka I am interested in hearing about your experiences and seeing pictures of your trip. Adele

david w said...

Hi Adele, I've taken a few photos but uploading them can be a drag - so you can see a lot more when I return. David

Kevin Hakney said...
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